Approximately 5% of cancers have a hereditary family component and exposure to toxic agents at work may be behind 10% of the total.
The rest, from 80 to 90%, would be related to lifestyle. It is believed that the incidence of cancer would be reduced by 30-40% for the same person if he lived in the countryside instead of in a city with pollution because he would get protection against many negative factors (although he would suffer deficits in many other aspects Also important, so the risks are not as relevant as they may seem at first glance).
- Prevention: Avoiding risk factors, an investment of the future
- Personal habits represent the highest percentage of cancer occurrence (all may account for 50% of the factors related to the onset of cancer). The most frequent are:
- Exposure to solar radiation: One in three new tumors that are diagnosed is skin cancer. Exposure to solar ultraviolet rays is a factor of skin cancer and melanoma, so it is recommended to limit exposure to the sun and use high protection factors.
- Smoke and pollution: The smoke produced by the combustion of organic material is carcinogenic, and the most important pollution is caused by smoking and by the use of coal in food cooking and heating. In addition, the concentration of particles and toxic agents of industrial origin, which increase the effects of carcinogens, is linked in cities. It is estimated that when the concentration of this type of particles in the air increases 1% the risk of lung cancer increases by 14%.
- Tobacco: Cigarette smoke that is consumed without aspiration has 4 times more carcinogenic components than inhaled and non-smokers who live in the same enclosure are equally exposed to these carcinogens.
- Food: Carbonized (grilled, roasted) foods contain carcinogenic products known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. It is important to improve the cooking conditions of foods to preserve nutritional properties and eliminate the appearance of toxins (for example, marinate the chicken before grilling in lemon). In addition, the cooking and later slow cooling of foods that mix vegetables and meats (stews and stews) generates the appearance of nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic. Epidemiological data suggest that the domestic establishment of the slaughterhouse has contributed to the gradual disappearance of stomach cancer in the West.
- Alcohol consumption: Produces liver cancer, especially when there is hepatitis and cirrhosis, and represents a major carcinogen in oropharyngeal and esophageal cancer.
Early detection: a responsibility of all
The dissemination of health information, the proliferation of prevention campaigns and the generalization of screening programs and preventive medicine are having a significant impact on the health of the population. Thus, screening programs have significantly improved the prognosis of cancer, which, despite its incidence, have seen its survival grow and mortality reduced.
Remember: women must have a Pap smear every year and, from the age of 40, must participate in breast cancer screening programs. Men, in turn, should be screened for prostate cancer after age 40 and colorectal cancer, starting at age 50.